Swimsuits and Bikinis…Summer, We’ve Got You.
OMG, I texted my friend on the first day of my daughter’s baby swimming class. All of the other moms wore bikinis!
Maybe it was the fact that – despite having a baby the same age as mine – they all looked like Amazonian godesses, or maybe it was the fact that I was still squeezing my less-than-toned body into a swimsuit I distinctly remember my mother buying for me in my early teens, but something about this made me feel deeply self-conscious.
Last summer, at the height of my pregnancy, it was a different story. I spent any moment I could trying to cool off in a tiny bikini next to a body of water. Okay, I mainly wore the bikini because I didn’t want to spend money on a maternity swimsuit, but I felt good in it. My body was growing a human – an incredible feat however you look at it – why wouldn’t I be proud of it? And those thirteen extra kilos I was packing? All baby.
Imagine my surprise when, a few days after birth, I stepped on some scales (not advisable) and realised that those extra kilos hadn’t, as I had expected, left my body when my daughter did.
So there I was at the swimming pool one Tuesday, self-conscious about my appearance next to these bikini-clad women. But you know what? The minute I got into the water and saw how much fun my daughter was having splashing about with the other babies, I stopped thinking about stretch marks or extra rolls. I stopped caring about my old swimsuit. The swimming class wasn’t about any of those things, and the person I was there for – my baby girl – didn’t give a crap about what I looked like.
We still go swimming every Tuesday. I’m still the only one wearing an old swimsuit (which I seriously need to replace). And no, I haven’t had some kind of miraculous recovery from self-consciousness.
For my own sake – for my health, above all – I can’t consider the post-pregnancy weight as a badge of service forever. But I’m also not going to sit around worrying about it for as long as it’s here.
I know I’m not alone in these feelings, so let’s make a pact together. – right here, right now. This summer, we will throw on our natty old swimsuits instead of bikinis, or maxi dresses instead of short skirts, or whatever it is that helps us feel comfortable in our new bodies. And we’ll go out and enjoy this summer, and let ourselves forget for a second about whatever it is that’s bothering us.
Let’s do it for our kids. Let’s do it for ourselves. Summer, we’ve got you.